Category Archives: Baking Recipes

Easy Orange Cake recipe

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Last Friday, one of our closest and dearest of friends popped over for dinner, so I decided to bake her a cake, just to make her feel extra special *cue: awwwwww* :). Now if you have been reading the blog, you would have read that I had the best over orange-infused chicken last week, and so, to keep in line with all things *orange* I decided to bake an orange cake.

After scouring the web for easy orange cake recipes, I came across this one from All Recipes, which I tweaked a little. It’s super-duper easy to make and is ready to devour in 50 minutes. Its really light and fluffy – perfect with afternoon tea or coffee. best of all, you can choose whether or not to have with with Orange Buttercream Icing (being healthy and all that). Here’s the recipe;

Ingredients:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml orange juice
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange

Orange Buttercream Icing:

*I doubled this as I LOVE buttercream icing – I lessened the icing sugar though, instead of 500grams I used 400grams – but this is up to you of course, taste it as you go along and adjust it to the sweetness you want.ย  I also used 10 tbsp of butter instead of 12*

  • 12 tablespoons butter, softened (1 tablespoon is approx 80grams)
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoon grated orange zest

Method:

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Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease and flour two 20cm round cake tins. In a measuring jug, combine milk, 125ml orange juice, oil, beaten eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. Set aside.

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Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Mix in sugar.

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Make a well in the center and pour in the milk mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined.

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Divide into 20cm round cake tins – now mine leaked (spring-form ones will be unsuitable as the cake mixture is way too runny, so unless you have a fixed in round tin, I would advise against it) I ended up using a square rubber mould similar to this.

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Here’s the silicone mould I was talking about earlier. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Allow to cool.

To make Orange Buttercream Icing;

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Cream butter until smooth.

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Gradually beat in icing sugar – don;t do this all at once unless you want a face full of icing sugar dust and end up looking like Casper! Beat until light and fluffy.

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Beat in 4 tablespoons orange juice to bring to spreading consistency.

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Stir in vanilla and orange zest.Mix thoroughly.

Now, if you were using two round tins, spread over cooled cakes. If like me you had to use one large tin, slice cake in half, then spread icing sugar in the middle and later, on the top.

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Spread icing evenly on inside and on the top. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Serve with a lovely cup of tea!

IMG_2484 (1000x667)Have you got a orange cake recipe that is your favourite? Share it with me and I might feature it on one of my baking days! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy baking people! ๐Ÿ™‚

Toodles for now,

KimmyX

Easy mushroom soup recipe

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As a child, i looked forward to Saturdays. Why? No, not because we got to go to church to praise the Lord. No, not because my father would always buy me a McDonalds ice cream cone for behaving during mass, and no, not because I used to have a crush on an alter boy who never really liked me back. On Saturday’s, my mum would have to work which meant my brother would have to sort me out for lunch. Now my brother is no Gordon Ramsey, in fact, he’s a Gordon Ramsey as much as I am a Nigella Lawson. He was great at making one thing though – heating up soup from Campbells. Mushroom soup to be exact. I love mushroom soup and its not till very recently I realised the ‘others’ that went into my beloved can of soup – water, milk proteins, salt, sugar, additives among other things, but get this, a whopping 6% mushrooms! I know what you’re saying. But its SOOOOO easy, open the can, warm it up, voila! However, if your willing to try my easy mushroom soup recipe – I promise it’ll only take you 25 minutes and cost alot less – you can eat it for days, or freeze it and reheat it at a later date. There’s more – AND, here’s the bonus, its got over 70% mushrooms. That’s right, Cambells, eat your mushroom-heart out.

Here’s what you need;

  • 750grams mushrooms
  • 125grams double cream (you don’t have to have this if you wanted something healthier)
  • 2 cubes of garlic (we were being lazy, but this works out to about 1 bulb – less if you hate garlic)
  • Chicken stock (you can use vegetarian stock if you are a vegetarian)
  • Splash of sherry
  • Sprinkling of thyme
  • 1 Onion

Here’s how you do it;

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Weigh out 750 grams of mushrooms

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Make a pot of stock and place the mushrooms inside.

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Add the garlic (cubes or cloves) and a splash of sherry. Give it a whirl ๐Ÿ™‚

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Chop up 1 medium onion and place it in the pot

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Using a hand blender (we used the bamix) we whizzed up the mixture till it was smooth. If you don’t have a blender, fret not, all you have to do it chop up the mushrooms as much as you can, nothing wrong with a coarse mushroom soups – more to bite!

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Here’s me giving it a whiz.ย  Stop till you’re happy with the consistency (or until it gets really messy and your kitchen top is full of mushroom soup splatter

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Add the sprinkling of thyme.

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Believe it or not – that’s our cream. We froze a pot a while ago and so we now have solid block double cream. Good times. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Weigh out 125grams and sink it into the pot (ok, pour the cream into if you have normal cream like normal people) Stir on a low heat for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and voila! One very healthy, very tasty, 70% mushroom soup made!

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See – told you it was easy! Have you got a easy mushroom soup recipe to share?

Happy cooking!

KimmyX

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Coffee Cake

1st day of maternity leave – feels a little odd to be honest knowing I won’t be back at my desk for a year at least. And I keep asking myself what will I do with myself for a whole year?! I am then reminded that this is not something I won through a raffle – no, I’ll have a baby to look after! *reality check 1,2,3* .ย  Anyway, we had two really good friends come over last night and I decided to bake a cake and so out came my Mary Berry website and I settled on her Cappuccino Coffee Cake. Now, I don’t drink coffee (except Starbucks Toffee Nut Latte which they bring out at Christmas time) so this cake was really predominantly for the guests and the other half (who is a mini coffee addict)

This Coffee Cake is really easy to make and very light to eat – I reduced the sugar (healthy eating and all that) upped the coffee taste (did I mention one of us is a coffee addict?!) and out popped a beautifully crafted, light, moist, not-too-sickly-sweet cake.ย  Even I ate a slice! This is perfect with a cup of tea, or coffee if you prefer and takes about 1.5 hours to make.ย  The only difficult thing i found with this cake is cutting the cake into 4 slices – but alas, I got the better half to do that, he’s way better at stuff like that than me.

What you’ll need;

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  • 225g (8oz) very soft butter, plus more for the tins
  • 225g (8oz) light muscovado sugar or caster sugar
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 5 level tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water

For the Icing

  • 175g (6oz) soft butter
  • 300g (12oz) icing sugar
  • 5 level tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water

Here’s how you do it;

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Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/315F fan/Gas 4. Butter and line the base of two deep 20cm (8in) sandwich cake tins.

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Measure all the cake ingredients, except the coffee, into a large mixing bowl and beat together until smooth.

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Stir in the dissolved coffee until thoroughly blended.

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Should look like this when it’s creamed together.

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Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared tins and level the tops.

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Bake in the preheated oven for about 25โ€“30 minutes until golden brown, shrinking away from the sides of the tin and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed.

Now for the icing;

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To make the icing, mix the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl and beat together until smooth.

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Should look something like this after you cream the whole lot together.

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Beat in the dissolved coffee and divide into four.

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When creamed together with the coffee, should look like this. Do a taste test and add more icing sugar if you like, or a tiny bit more coffee if you prefer a stronger coffee taste.

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When they are cold, slice each cake horizontally in half, giving four layers of cake.

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Slice away – careful with your fingers!

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Sit one base on a cake stand and spread with a quarter of the mixture.

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Stack em’ up like jenga! Continue layering up with cake and icing so you finish with icing on top and swirl to give an attractive finish.

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I even iced the sides of the cake as I had icing left – decorate as you please – I stole 3 coffee beans from the better half’s coffee machine.

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Ta-daa! One coffee cake ready to eat!

The cake can be made and iced up to two days ahead, kept covered in the fridge. Iced or un-iced, it freezes well.

Happy baking!

Toodles,

KimmyX

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

So its Valentine’s Weekend – I must admit I’m not feeling particularly romantic – what in my like feeble whale-like state. I mean, how any man can find someone who has to pee 5 times an hour and needs help being pushed up the stairs (probably to get to the toilet to pee!) is beyond me. We decided that instead of going out and being charged 10 times more for the same meal, that we would cook together instead. Well – the other half would cook and I would bake a cake for dessert. He’s a big lemon fan (don’t know why but I hate lemon cakes!!) and so I decided to try my hand at Lemon Meringue Pie – with a little help from Mary Berry of course. Its one of the harder cakes I’ve made and took a while longer than I expected, but well worth the effort when he tucked into a slice big enough to feed a small village.ย  That man can eat!

What you need

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For the pastry

For the lemon filling

For the meringue topping

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

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First make the pastry. Measure the flour and butter into a food processor and blend together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

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Add the icing sugar, egg and one tablespoon of water and whizz again until combined to a ball. Our pastry was quiet ‘sticky’ so we had to add a little more plain flour until it managed to roll out.

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Tip the pastry onto a work surface and roll out to a 3mm thickness.

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Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry up and transfer it to line a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed flan tin. Be careful not to stretch the pastry as you tuck it into the corners. We didn’t have a loose bottom flan tin and so had to use a 23cm silicon based baking tray – not the best idea as the meringue cracked when we took it out of the oven after it was done – get the real deal here people, I know I will be the next time I make this!

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Cover in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.Take the pastry-lined tin out of the fridge and trim the excess pastry. Press the top edge of the pastry so that it stands slightly higher than the top of the tin.

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Line the pastry case with parchment and fill with baking beans – an alternative is rice.ย  What I did was lightly butter the shiny part of aluminum foil and place the buttered side onto the pastry – then weigh down with some uncooked rice – this is called ‘blind baking‘.ย  Bake for about 15 minutes then remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further five minutes.ย  Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170C/340F/Gas 3ยฝ.

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Zest the 6 lemons – be careful not to zest your fingers in the process!

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After you zest the lemons – juice them (or in my case as the better half to do it as he is way stronger than I am – of course I blame this on me being pregnant, otherwise i would totally CRUSH him)

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Mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste.

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Measure 450ml/16fl oz of water into a pan and bring to the boil.

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Add the lemon cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat.

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In a bowl mix together the sugar and egg yolks.

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Carefully whisk into the lemon mixture in the pan.

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Stir over a medium heat until thickened.

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Set aside for a few minutes and then pour into the baked pastry case.

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For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a free-standing mixer until soft peaks form when the whisk is remove – this should look like fluffy white clouds and takes about 8-10 minutes depending on how strong your electric mixer is.

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Add the caster sugar a little at a time, still whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and whisk again.

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Look at how shiny that is – L’Oreal hair Experts – eat your heart out!

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Spoon on top of the filled pastry case and spread the meringue to completely cover the lemon filling.

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Then create a swirl on the top of the meringue.

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Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the filling is completely set and the meringue is lightly golden and crisp. For us – it took about 20 minutes to get any sort of brown on the top. Can be served warm or cold.

I was not too happy about the meringue cracking when we took it out of the oven, but that was because we didn’t have a flan tin. Overall, this is one of the harder recipes Ive made, but it did taste quite nice (even if you don’t like lemon desserts!) Just be sure not to overdo with piling in the lemon mix into the pastry as I personally felt there was too much lemon to the pastry (the better half said you could never have too much lemon)

Here’s the full recipe from the BBC website: Mary’s Lemon Meringue Pie

Happy Valentine’s weekend everyone and happy baking!

Toodles,

KimmyX

Easy Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings

Easy Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings

Easy Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings

This dish was made after taking inspiration from a colleague of mine P, who one day came bouncing to the office with the offer of homemade dumplings – and who was I to turn them down of course!. They were tasty – and hearty, so I thought to myself, why not I make it up and do it too? After all, it might be fun and can either go disastrously wrong, or beautifully right – 50/50% chance ย is good enough for me! ย And so, this dish of Easy Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings was born. I kid you not – It will take you 15 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to steam – above all, it’s so healthy (of course this is dependent on how much light soya sauce you use too!!) and easy to make, making this an all-round tasty, healthy snack. You can also choose to add meat to it, making it a proper dinner (with rice and soup if you like)

And so, off we went to the local Chinese grocer – alas, Waitrose does not stock bamboo strips! Here is what we bought;

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can bamboo strips
  • 1 can water chestnuts (provided a lovely crunch!)
  • Bunch of red chillies (give it that real extra kick!)
  • Spring onion
  • Parsley
  • I bag of bean sprouts
  • Some light soya sauce
  • I packet of dumpling skins (and a small bowl of water handy to seal the skin together afterwards)

Method:

Now depending on how many dumplings you anticipate to make, measure out the appropriate ingredient quantities, adding more if you fancy one ingredient more than the other. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Chop the chillies and chestnuts into smaller pieces.ย  You might want to chop the bamboo strips in half too – as we found this to be too long when we were eating the dumplings!

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Throw all the ingredients in the pan – add some soya sauce to taste.ย  Fry for about 10 minutes – the ingredients should ‘shrink’ a little, this will make it more manageable for when you have to put them into the dumpling skins for later! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Put the cooked ingredients to one side.ย  Separate the dumpling skins out on a dry surface

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Using a teaspoon, spoon a little of the cooked ingredients into the middle of the dumpling skin, be careful that you don’t put too much as you don’t want to risk breaking the dumpling skin when you steam it

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my pitiful attempt at folding the dumpling

Urghh – look at my sad attempt at the art of dumpling folding above – so embarrassing! ๐Ÿ™

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the better half’s perfect attempt 1st time. Urghh – he is so annoying good at things!

one perfect dumpling

one perfect dumpling

For this, I has to enlist the help of the better half, as I have terrible fat fingers and no sense of neatness when it comes to technical stuff like this. ย Hahahahaย  – check out my attempt above, then look at the better half’s attempt. Hang your head in shame woman – my mum would say!ย  After you have filled the dumplings, in the middle, fold in half and press the sides together with the help of a little water, the water helps it stick together to seal it all in place ๐Ÿ™‚

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After you finish filling the lovely little parcels, slowly transport them onto the steamer – careful not to break the skins as they are very delicate. Steam for about 10 minutes

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Serve up with chili sauce of your choice – we bought this gorgeous Vietnamese dipping sauce from Waitrose – perfect!

The verdict? This is actually *gasp* not a bad snack at all – we made fifteen – and had loads of filing leftover (no guesses on what we will be having for a snack today then eh!) ). The chilli gave it that extra kick and the saltiness from the soya sauce balanced it out so you didn’t ย burn your insides. The addition of the chestnuts and bamboo shoots gave it that extra crunch and the parsley and spring onions work surprisingly well together to give it that ‘clean’ taste.ย  All in all, a great, quick, healthy snack – what’s not to love! ย ย For next time, we will be trying it with minced chicken/beef and buying larger dumpling skins, as I felt these were too small to hold a hearty amount of filling (ok yes, we are just being greedy and want more filling in our parcels – I won’t lie hahaha!!) . Look out for that post soon! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy cooking lovelies!

KimmyX

Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower Cheese

I have never understood Cauliflower Cheese. I put it down as an ‘English’ dish that I am not meant to understand. Ever. First off – Cauliflower tastes odd – it tastes like nothing much really and so I don’t really see the point in eating it. Add cheese. (I am part mouse and live on the stuff) Why Why Why?? Why would you ruin good cheese and put this non-tasteful cauliflower vegetable in with it?! Urgh. Anyway, We had the gorgeous G over for dinner on Sunday and were running out of ideas for vegetables fast. The better half said (complete with a light bulb over his head) ‘I know, she’s English, she’ll like cauliflower cheese’ and so, that was that *scrunches up nose*.ย  I’ve only had Cauliflower Cheese once – and it was awful. ๐Ÿ™

P/s: When G arrived and we told her we were making Cauliflower Cheese, she said ‘ Ohhhh YUM!’ Figures! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is the full recipe, adapted from here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium cauliflower (approx 1lb/450g)
  • 55g / 2 oz butter
  • 55g / 2 oz all purpose/plain flour
  • 1 level tsp mustard powder (optional)
  • Large pinch salt
  • 460 ml / 1 pint milk
  • 55g / 2 oz cheddar cheese or similar, grated plus extra for sprinkling on top
  • Freshly ground pepper

Cauliflower Cheese Ingredients

Method:

Heat the oven to 200C/395F/Gas 7

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Measure out butter and flour

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Stir till no lumps

Remove the green outer leaves from the cauliflower, cut a deep cross in the bottom of the stem then steam whole over a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the heat and leave to cool. The cauliflower should not be cooked thoroughly, just lightly steamed and beginning to soften.Place the butter and flour into a large saucepan. Over a low heat stir the butter and flour until the butter has melted and the flour is incorporated.

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mmm… nice and smooth!

Add the salt and mustard powder (if using) and continue stirring for 2 minutes.This is to cook out the floury taste and to soften the starch grains in the flour ready to make the sauce.

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Measure out 460ml of milk – we used whole milk as I felt semi-skimmed would not allow the dish to be as creamy. And whole milk just tastes oh-so-damn-good anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cauliflower Cheese

add milk

Turn the heat up to medium and add the milk in one go and whisk furiously until all a smooth sauce is formed. Continue stirring until the sauce is thickened and glossy (about 5 minutes) If the sauce is very thick add a little more milk, the sauce should be thick but still a little on the runny side.

Cauliflower Cheese

grate away!

Grate cheese – we used mature cheddar and a processor (we used a bamix) – of course you could use a traditional grater too – just takes so long and I often grate my fingers in the process. ๐Ÿ™

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Add the grated cheese and stir until melted. Remove from the heat.

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Break the cauliflower florets from the thick, central stalk taking care not to break it into tiny pieces. Place the florets in a greased baking dish large enough to hold all the florets in one layer.Pour the thickened cheese sauce over the cauliflower ensuring all the florets are covered. Sprinkle with grated cheese and a good twist of black pepper. Bake in the hot oven until the sauce is bubbling and golden brown on the top, approx 30 minutes.

Cauliflower Cheese

Voila! Cauliflower Cheese.

Ta-daa! One cauliflower cheese! I MUST admit – it was not as bad as I remembered it.ย  Use vintage cheddar – it really brings the flavour of this dish out.ย  This proves one thing – you should always give things you don’t like a second try sometime! Now – where is that black pudding?!

We had it with our Sunday roast:

Cauliflower Cheese

Do you like cauliflower cheese? Have you any improvement suggestions? Sharing is caring lovelies! ๐Ÿ™‚

KimmyX

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington

Me and the better half have taken an interest in Hell’s Kitchen this year – yes, there is something about Gordon effin Ramsey shouting profanities at grown adults that makes us come back for more.OK – its not just that, some of the food gives us inspiration to want to try and be chef’s in our own little Michelin-stared kitchen and this was one of them. Bring on the Beef Wellington. P/S: Did you know this was a french dish?! With a name like Wellington, one would assume it was British! Continue reading

Stuffed Pepper

Stuffed Pepper

Stuffed Pepper

After the better half came home on Saturday morning from his travels, we decided to do absolutely nothing this weekend – he was tired, I was tired, and we had a ton of CSI’s and Eastenders to catch up on. Because we didn’t go food shopping, we had to make do with whatever we had left in the fridge.

Every christmas, we have two lots of friends over the holidays (we only have a table that seats 6 you see). We have a couple of vegetarian friends and every year, we try our best to make something nicer than ‘vegetarian sausages with roasted vegetables’, after all, the rest of us are stuffing our face with gammon, turkey and beef! This is our recipe for last year, all that’s different is we’ve switched the seasonal squash for pepper – the filling all remains the same.ย  This is a very easy dish, and it tastes really really good.ย  Perfect for vegetarians and meat eaters alike! Continue reading

Smoked Salmon King Prawn and Leek Risotto

Smoked Salmon King Prawn and Leek Risotto

Smoked Salmon King Prawn and Leek Risotto

Smoked Salmon King Prawn and Leek Risotto is a replica of one of my favourite meals from Prezzo – which I frequent quite alot as its conveniently placed right below my office block.

It takes about 1 hour to make with preparation and is a very nutritious recipe – packed with leeks, salmon and prawns.ย  Ok, so the wine part you have to add is not the healthiest – but really, the wine is boiled off whilst cooking the rice and all you really taste is gorgeous infused rice with hints of white wine!

Of course, we didn’t know how to make it, but hey – we did a bloody good job of trying to replicate this dish!ย  Did it taste like the Prezzo one? Close, but no cigar.ย  I loved the taste of it though, although next time, I think we might use less white wine and add a bit more smoked salmon,

Here is the full recipe, Kimmy style!

Ingredients

  • 3 leeks
  • 500 grams Carnaloni Risotto Rice
  • 350 grams King Prawn
  • 2 fillets of Smoked Salmon
  • 500 ml dry white wine
  • 1.5 ltrs vegetable stock
  • 170 grams Parmesan cheese (more if you are secret cheese eater like me)
leeks

fry leeks

Slice the leeks and fry them in olive oil till they are a little brown and soft. Be careful not to have the fire up too high as this will burn the leeks and believe me, no one wants burnt leeks my dear!

add rice

add rice

Add the rice into the fried leeks and mix in properly with leeks.ย  Make sure that the rice is nicely coated with the olive oil in the pan

add wine

add wine

Add 500ml of white wine to the pan, slowly stir till it evaporates (but be careful not to let it burn)

add vegetable stock

add vegetable stock

Add a ladleful of the stock and simmer, stirring again, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock in this way, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is plump and tender. Make sure the rice does not burn to the base of the pan. If you think the rice is becoming too ‘sticky’ you can choose to stop adding the stock, but risotto rice is actually supposed to be a little sticky people, so I promise you won’t be disappointed! (never stir the stock in all at once as the rice will not cook properly and you’ll just be left with stodgy vegetable stock rice!)

add prawns

add prawns

Add prawns to the mixture, mix mix mix!!

slice salmon

slice salmon

Then slice or cut the salmon into the pan. Again people – the key here is mix mix mix!

parmesan cheese

add parmesan cheese

Grate and add the parmesan cheese to the pan. Need I say it again? MIX! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Smoked Salmon King Prawn and Leek Risotto

Smoked Salmon King Prawn and Leek Risotto

Ta-daa! And like magic – we have one Smoked Salmon King Prawn and Leek Risotto. Garnish with fresh parsley, add salt and pepper to your own taste.ย  Nyum Nyum! Prezzo?! Who’s that?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy cooking lovelies,

KimmyX